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You are in Phoenix. We also have a Tucson site.

You are in Phoenix. We also have a Tucson site.

Tank vs. Tankless Water Heaters: Finding What's Better for Your Home

Have you heard of Benjamin Waddy Maughan? Well, you can thank him for your hot water. Maughan invented and patented the first gas-powered water heater in the mid-1860s, and we've been benefiting ever since.  

Since then, technology has come a long way, and now you have water heater options like tank and tankless. This article will give you the information you need to answer the question plaguing everyone's mind, "What is better tankless or tank water heater?" By the end of this article, you'll feel confident making the right decision for your home.

What Is a Tank Water Heater

Tank water heaters, also known as storage water heaters, have been a staple in households for decades. These water heaters consist of a large, insulated tank, typically made of steel or glass lined steel to prevent corrosion. A tank water heater stores a specific amount of water, it starts with cold water entering the tank, where it then heats up and rises to the top of the tank, it waits there until you're ready to use it. While new technology has come out, tank water heaters are a great option for homeowners.

Pros of Storage Tank Water Heaters

Affordability is one of the most prominent advantages of tank water heaters. They have a low initial cost compared to tankless models. If your current water heater breaks down unexpectedly, this could be a great option if you don't have a large budget.

We'll talk more about the installation process later, but tank water heaters are easy to install. The majority of plumbers are familiar with the procedures and installation methods. This helps keep labor costs down.

Another benefit of tank water heaters is that they can provide hot water simultaneously to multiple faucets. There are times when a tankless water heater will struggle with this task and provide low water pressure. 

As a homeowner, you have a lot of appliances to maintain. The great news is that tank water heaters don't require a lot of upkeep. Flushing the tank yearly to remove sediment buildup is simple and will help prolong its lifespan. 

Difference Between Tankless and Traditional Units

Now onto some of the differences between tankless heaters and traditional tank water heaters. 


Let’s start with cost. The upfront cost of purchasing a tankless water heater is typically higher than the traditional option. However, many homeowners believe the potential energy savings offset the initial investment. 

Tankless water systems can provide endless hot water; however, it's important to note that their flow rate is limited. This means that while you'll have hot water, the performance might be affected if you're running multiple systems at a time. 

To ensure optimal performance, a tankless water heater will require slightly more maintenance than a traditional unit. It's also important to keep in mind that if a repair is needed, it'll likely be more complex and expensive. 


Tank water heaters have a continuous energy consumption. They're constantly keeping the water in the tank hot, even if it's not being used. This can lead to higher energy bills and reduce your energy savings. 


There is also a limited amount of hot water, which will be determined by the size of your tank. If the demand exceeds the capacity of the tank, you may experience temporary shortages. It'll take some time for the tank to refill and reheat the water. 

A tank water heater also requires more physical space than a tankless unit. This could be a drawback if your home has limited space options. They come in a variety of different sizes, so you can still find an option that works. 


A potential downside is that tank water heaters have a shorter lifespan. This is due to its constant exposure to heat and water, which contributes to wear and tear over time. There's a risk of heat loss through the walls of the tank as well. This is especially true with poorly insulated models. If you purchase a new, high-quality unit, you likely won't have to worry about this for several years.

Tank Water Heaters: Installation Process 

It's highly recommended that you have a professional plumber handle the installation of a tank water heater. This will help ensure optimal functioning and the safety of your home. 

When you're choosing where to place your tank water heater, you'll want to ensure that it is accessible for installation and maintenance checks. It should also be in a well-vented area away from flammable materials. A tank water heater also requires a cold-water supply line and a hot water outlet.

Typically, homeowners choose closets, basements, and utility rooms to place their units in. 

Maintenance Practices for Tank Heaters

It can be easy to forget about checking and maintaining your hot water heater. You probably have a long list of things to do, and a maintenance check may slip your mind.

However, there are significant benefits of regular maintenance. Ultimately, this will help ensure your unit lasts as long as possible.

Calling in a professional is the easiest way to keep your tank water heater working properly. However, there are a few maintenance practices that you can follow on your own.

Be sure to set the thermostat to a safe and energy-efficient temperature. This will prevent scalding and minimize energy consumption.

You should also take the time to flush sediment which can accumulate at the bottom of the tank. This only needs to be done about once a year. If this sounds intimidating, you can call in a pro and they will take care of the maintenance for you. 

Be sure to check for leaks as well. The last thing you want to deal with is water damage. Checking the tank and the connections regularly will ensure no energy goes to waste. 

The last thing you want to check is the vent system. It can be very dangerous if there isn't proper ventilation for a gas-powered heater. 

Understanding Tankless Water Heaters

If you're looking for an energy-efficient water heater, a tankless unit is a great option. 

Tankless water heaters are often referred to as on demand water heaters. These machines will heat up water directly without the need for a storage tank.

A tankless system only heats water when it's needed, which leads to saving money and energy. 

Now you may be wondering how the system works. The process involves passing cold water through a heating element or coil. The water is rapidly heated to the desired temperature and then flows through the unit. 

There are great benefits and potential drawbacks to tankless water heaters, so let's explore them below. 

Advantages of Tankless Heaters 

One of the main benefits of a tankless water heater is you don't have to worry about standby heat losses. It's the most energy-efficient option and you'll likely see a decrease in your utility bills.

You'll also have an endless hot water supply. This is a great option if you have a large household or have a high hot water demand.

Since there is no tank involved in the system, you won't need extra space in your home. The unit can simply be installed on walls or in tight corners. These units also last longer than traditional tank heaters. 

Another great advantage that many homeowners appreciate is the reduced risk of water damage. Since there is no tank or large volumes of water, the risk of leaks due to tank corrosion or a rupture is nonexistent. 

Installation of Tankless Hot Water Heaters

Having a tankless water heater installed in your home is like having a traditional tank installed.

It'll need to be done by a professional. You'll also need to spend time choosing the location. Your new system can be placed inside or outside. 

Your tankless water heater will either run on natural gas or electricity, so you'll need to have the necessary connections in place.

Ventilation is also key when it comes to tankless water heaters to ensure the safety of you and your home. 

If you’re not sure about these details, don’t worry! A professional plumber will help you through this process to ensure that you’re set up correctly. 

Maintaining a Tankless Water Heater

Mineral buildup and accumulation are a possibility when you have a tankless water heater. Flushing the system or having a professional do it annually is recommended.

Be sure to check for blockages, damage, or any signs of wear and tear. This is especially true for gas-powered units.

Your tankless water heater will also have an air intake filter that will need to be cleaned and replaced as recommended. 

Factors to Consider

When deciding between a tank or tankless water heater, there are a few considerations you need to think about. 

You first need to consider your household hot water usage. If you frequently use hot water for multiple tasks, simultaneously, a tankless water heater might be the best option. 

You don't want to constantly be thinking about running out of hot water. If you typically run the dishwasher and washing machine and take a shower at the same time every day, a tankless unit will be beneficial.

If you usually shower in the morning, run your washing machine in the afternoon, and the dishwasher in the evening, a tank water heater may work great. 

You'll also need to think about spacing. If you don't have a large area, a tankless water unit will be preferable for its compact size.

Not only will you need to think about the initial cost, but also the long-term investment. Tankless and tank water heaters have different life spans, so that is another factor to keep in mind when making your decision. 

Before making this decision use this list to ensure you aren't forgetting any considerations.

  • Cost (initial and maintenance)

  • Lifespan

  • Hot water demand 

  • Installation Space

  • Energy Efficiency


Water Heater FAQ’s

It's normal to have a few questions when you're making such a big decision. Below are a few of the most common ones. And don’t forget  our team is available if you need more information. 

Can I Switch Without Major Modifications?

Switching from a tank to a tankless system will require some adjustments. Gas lines, ventilation, and electrical connections will likely need to be moved or changed. While it can be done, these are extra costs to consider.

Can Tankless Water Heaters Work During Power Outages?

The majority of tankless water heaters require electricity to function. This means they won't work during a power outage. However, some models will come with battery backups that can provide you with limited hot water. 

What Are the Lifespan Differences?

Both tankless and tank water heaters last a long time. However, the tankless unit will often last 20 years or more. The tank heater will likely need to be replaced after 15 years. 

Which Is Best for My Home?

Unfortunately, there isn't an easy answer to this question. There are numerous factors to consider which will affect your decision. Working with an experienced team is the best way to explore your options and find the answer that works for you. 

Working With a Pro

Working with a trusted team will make your decision easier. As a homeowner, you have a lot of responsibility on your plate. An expert will be there to support you as you make this important investment. 

A trained professional will be able to advise you on which type of water heater is best for your home. They'll also be able to answer any questions you may have about operating costs, the heat exchanger, water heater costs, and the extent of the work that will need to be done.

What Is Better Tankless or Tank Water Heater

The decision between a tankless water heater and a tank water heater depends on various factors. This can make the decision very challenging. Take the time to research and consider the pros and cons of each option or reach out to us for help.

At Parker & Sons, we genuinely care about your needs. We understand home improvement choices can be overwhelming. That's why we make it our priority to respond quickly and efficiently, providing timely solutions for your needs. Our team of experts is ready and available to assist you with all your water heater needs. Contact us today! 

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